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In Essen Th. Goldschmidt AG closed an important chapter in the corporation's history: after approximately 100 years, tin plate detinning came to an end. Detinning had been under increasing financial pressure. Above all, the sharp drop in revenue from tin and for detinned waste made it impossible to carry on operating profitably.
In partnership with Biotika AG, a well-known Slovakian pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Company, Degussa founded Fermas s.r.o. for commercial production of animal food additives in Slovenská Lupca. In October 1998 Degussa acquired the remaining 49 percent of the Fermas stock held by Biotika AG, thereby becoming the company's sole proprietor. Today’s activities in Slovenská L’upca mainly focus on manufacturing the essential amino acids L-Threonine and L-Tryptophan for modern animal feed. Chloralkali electrolysis and its serial operations were shut down at the Rheinfelden facility of the then Hüls AG. At the same time new organosilane plants were built. The facility thereby increased its focus on silicone chemicals. Today Evonik Industries manufactures silanes in ultrapure quality for a variety of applications in Rheinfelden.
Degussa AG and Ciba-Geigy AG in Basel founded Cerdec AG, in which Degussa incorporated its traditional Ceramic Paints and Specialty Products Business Unit. Degussa initially held 70 percent of the share capital. In 1999 it purchased the remaining 30 percent, becoming the sole proprietor of Cerdec AG, which it integrated in its new company dmc2 at the beginning of 2000. When dmc2 was sold to the American OM Group in August 2001, the former Cerdec section of dmc2 was sold to the Ferro Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio.
When Th. Goldschmidt Ltd. moved its UK site from London to Milton Keynes in 1993, the company started up its own production again in the UK for the time since the World War. Since then it has mainly produced surfactants (betaine) and disinfectants. Degussa started the German-Chinese joint venture in the field of rubber and tire carbon black in the form of the Quingdao Degussa Chemical Company Ltd. in Jiaozhou. Degussa AG held 40 percent of the stock in China's largest carbon black factory. In 1997 the company acquired a further 12 percent of the stock, thereby becoming the majority shareholder in the joint venture. Hüls AG sold its Buna business, which had led to the company's establishment in 1938, to Bayer AG, Leverkusen. Bayer AG, which traditionally has wide experience in the rubber synthesis sector, had been a co-owner of Bunawerke Hüls GmbH since 1955. In Bekasi near Jakarta in Indonesia, Th. Goldschmidt built a new production shop for surfactants for the Eastern Asian market. The company initially began as contracted-out production, leading in 1997 to the establishment of the joint venture PT. Goldschmidt Sumi Asih.
The Degussa Corporation, USA, was the company in the world to transport hydrogen peroxide by ship instead of by the conventional transport method, the train. From the loading site in Theodore, Alabama, near Mobile, transport ships have been traveling along the Mississippi to the Midwest since then, thus meeting the needs of the paper industry located in the area.
Stockhausen GmbH, Krefeld, in which the then Hüls AG had held a majority interest since 1991, acquired its superabsorbent plant in Garyville, Louisiana (USA), from the Nalco Chemical Company and went on to become the world's largest supplier of superabsorbents. These have been produced by Stockhausen GmbH since 1986, and are renowned in particular for their large moisture storage capacity. In the same year, the then Hüls AG, Marl, purchased the remaining stock in the Krefeld Company and incorporated it into the Group as a subsidiary. Röhm GmbH hived off its traditional leather supplies business, one of the roots of the company, to TFL ("Together for Leather") Ledertechnik GmbH & Co. KG in Darmstadt. TFL was a joint venture between Ciba AG, Röhm GmbH and Hüls subsidiary Stockhausen GmbH & Co. KG, Krefeld. As part of its bid to concentrate on the specialty chemicals business, the new Degussa AG sold TFL to Schroder Ventures International Investment in 2001.
Agomer GmbH in Hanau-Wolfgang, a recently established subsidiary, in which the former Degussa incorporated its operations in the methacrylate chemicals business area, began operation. As part of the merger between Degussa AG and Hüls AG, Agomer GmbH was amalgamated in 1999 with Hüls subsidiary Röhm GmbH into a company of the same name. The activities of this company are now integrated for further advancement in the Performance Polymers Business Unit of Evonik Industries AG. VIAG AG, Munich, replaced the Goldschmidt family as the main shareholder of Th. Goldschmidt AG in the 150th year of its existence. Until 1999, Goldschmidt was integrated in VIAG chemicals subsidiary SWK Trostberg AG, although it remained an independent company unit. Röhm GmbH's cast glass production closed in Darmstadt and was concentrated at the Weiterstadt branch. At the Darmstadt site of Evonik Industries AG, products now include monomers and varnish raw materials, oil additives in the VISCOPLEX® range and the high-resistance foam ROHACELL®.
By selling the Thermit division to the Goldschmidt family, Th. Goldschmidt continued to focus on specialty chemicals. At the end of the year this traditional sector was sold after more than 100 years of production in exchange for the family's block of shares in Th. Goldschmidt AG.This gave VIAG AG over 90 percent of the equity capital. The company name was subsequently changed to Goldschmidt AG. As part of the restructuring of the chemicals division of VIAG AG, Goldschmidt AG was integrated the following year into the SKW Group based in Trostberg. It merged with Degussa-Hüls AG of Frankfurt in 2001 to form the new Degussa AG, Düsseldorf.
Degussa AG, Frankfurt, and Hüls AG in Marl merged to become Degussa-Hüls AG, based in Frankfurt am Main. 46,000 staff were employed by the new company. The Group's core divisions were initially Chemicals, Precious Metals and Pharmaceuticals. Stocks in the new Degussa-Hüls AG were traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange for the time on February 12. The new major shareholder following the merger was VEBA AG.
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